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LA high schools give up on iPads, stick with more traditional computing options

The Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD’s) decision to supply all of its students throughout its 47 campuses with iPads was rife with controversy from the start. The initial contract with Apple was valued at $30 million (however, the contract was expected to expand to $500 million), which put the price tag at $678 per iPad. A revised budget later showed that the cost per iPad was nearly $100 more, at $770 per device.
 
Things only got worse after students began bypassing security filters on their iPads in order to access “forbidden” websites like Facebook, Twitter and Pandora, which led to the tablets being recalled by the LAUSD.
 
Now it seems as if the LAUSD has come to its senses with regards to a one-device-fits-all strategy for its students. The LAUSD has put its iPad rollout to 27 high schools on hold in favor of a plan that would favor notebook computers and convertibles.
 
As LAUSD board member Monica Ratliff put it, “Why would we treat all our students — whether they are a first-grader or a high school freshman — as if they all had the same technology needs? They don't.... To have a one-device-fits-all approach does not make sense."

 It's not all smiles at LAUSD high schools when it comes to iPads in the classroom

Why it took so long to come to this realization is unknown. An iPad might be a useful tool on lower grades — where it is often used for spelling activities, math review, and sight word recognition — but might not be as beneficial to high school students who need to write papers or might want to do something as simple as plug in a flash drive to access pictures or documents.
 
As one principal Carolyn McKnight put it, even when used in standardized testing, the iPads often came up short. "Students were more comfortable on the laptop because of the amount of writing and the size of the screen," said McKnight. "It was really hard to see the whole problem on the iPad."
 
"We had the right urgency, but urgency can be the enemy of necessary scrutiny," added Steve Zimmer, another LAUSD board member. "Now our challenge is to maintain the urgency while getting the details right."


Microsoft Surface Pro 2
 
Students, teachers, and administrators at the 27 high schools are now being given the opportunity to test six different devices to see which better fits each individual school’s needs. Some of the device choices include the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga, Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (which will actually come with the keyboard attachment; the iPads were not supplied with keyboards), Dell Latitude E7420, and even some Chromebook options.
 
The LAUSD Board of Education has earmarked $40 million to fund the machines for the high schools.

Source: LA Times



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ahem...
By GulWestfale on 6/30/2014 10:04:32 AM , Rating: 2
convertible with a touch screen, win 8 and office, and under 400 bucks apiece?
http://goo.gl/CFM3ev




RE: ahem...
By GulWestfale on 6/30/2014 10:05:39 AM , Rating: 1
so this way they can have their learning games at lower grades, but actually write their homework on it later on. and all without apple's magical pricing. but i suppose asus would have to do some serious "lobbying" to get that contract.


RE: ahem...
By Manch on 6/30/2014 10:14:02 AM , Rating: 2
Or thin clients, cloud storage that way they can maintain better control of the equipment and prevent the students from using unauthorized apps. They should have known but it is California.

Still waiting For Steve Jobs...ahem I mean Tony Swash to complain the were using it wrong and have unjustly ended the program


RE: ahem...
By GulWestfale on 6/30/2014 10:23:32 AM , Rating: 2
yes, thin clients would actually make a lot of sense


RE: ahem...
By Monkey's Uncle on 6/30/2014 10:25:32 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Or thin clients, cloud storage that way they can maintain better control of the equipment and prevent the students from using unauthorized apps. They should have known but it is California.


Boy, talk about coming full circle? Why not just plop some 3270 terminals on their desks and hook them all up to an old mainframe.

Can't ask for better hardware and software control than that.


RE: ahem...
By Manch on 6/30/2014 10:33:20 AM , Rating: 2
You can have thin clients that run virtual Windows environment for the students allowing them to save state and pick up where they left off in the next class. This is a much better option than hiving tablets or full fledged laptops to students to take home and bring lord knows what back onto the network. Its hard enough maintaining a network with just adults on it. 99% of the problems are PEBKAC.


RE: ahem...
By Argon18 on 6/30/14, Rating: -1
RE: ahem...
By Manch on 6/30/2014 11:22:53 AM , Rating: 2
Running Windows thru a thin client isnt new lol. I said windows because that's what people are most familiar with. You want students to learn their studies not fight with Linux. Granted there are linux flavors that are easy to use but why do that when these kids will most likely have windows at home?


RE: ahem...
By Motoman on 6/30/2014 11:51:47 AM , Rating: 5
What they use at home isn't the point...it's what they'd use once they entered the workforce.

Are they going to use Linux if/when they get a job? No.

Are they going to use Macs if/when they get a job? No.

Are they going to use Windows if/when they get a job? Yes.

Ergo, teaching kids on any platform other than Windows is counterproductive. Kids who gain skills on non-Windows OSs will be at a disadvantage comparatively when entering the workforce when compared to kids who had Windows skills already.

Whether or not you like Windows isn't the issue. It's simply a fact.


RE: ahem...
By Manch on 6/30/14, Rating: 0
RE: ahem...
By Motoman on 6/30/14, Rating: 0
RE: ahem...
By Manch on 6/30/2014 3:21:26 PM , Rating: 2
I'm saying they should use Windows. The primary reason for these computers is not to learn Windows but the rest of their studies. Learning Windows would be an added benefit. All I said was that Windows and thin clients isnt new and sure there are some LINUX flavors that are easy but why when everyone uses Windows. I'm not advocating LINUX. If it was specifically for a computer science class or vocational prepping them for the workforce then sure Windows it is and you would have a point. Yes, what they use at home is an issue. Running Windows guarantees compatibility for the most part and when it comes to assigning homework that requires a PC you have your bases mostly covered. This is after all what this whole system is for. For them to get their grade/highschool education, not specifically learn Windows.


RE: ahem...
By TakinYourPoints on 6/30/14, Rating: 0
RE: ahem...
By Alexvrb on 6/30/2014 8:16:01 PM , Rating: 3
Except the situations you listed involve people that familiarized themselves with these platforms outside of mandatory courses. It's silly to make OS X and Linux training mandatory in school because a small percentage of students will need it. Why not make Java courses mandatory for the entire school while you're at it? :P


RE: ahem...
By TakinYourPoints on 7/1/14, Rating: -1
RE: ahem...
By Reclaimer77 on 6/30/14, Rating: 0
RE: ahem...
By Manch on 6/30/2014 12:33:56 PM , Rating: 2
LOL, have you seen what kids do to desks and textbooks? I'd avoid laptops, touch screens altogether. That's just a headache.

I'd rather they spend money on computers for the kids than $200 plus a fitbit for teachers.


RE: ahem...
By Manch on 6/30/2014 12:37:07 PM , Rating: 4
Actually I should add this. Have you seen what adults do to computers too?
Spilled Frappuccino
Spilled coffee
Used as foot rest, dont understand what broke when it fell over.
Smash everything against the wall for an extra couple inches of desk space breaking the fiber
Moving computers while on...

It's mind numbing sometimes.


RE: ahem...
By chµck on 6/30/2014 1:39:24 PM , Rating: 5
Installing a dozen IE toolbars.


RE: ahem...
By Reclaimer77 on 6/30/2014 1:57:56 PM , Rating: 2
Installing the Bing toolbar...

*ducks* Just kidding!! :)


RE: ahem...
By Manch on 6/30/2014 4:40:52 PM , Rating: 2
Actually that one is one of the worst lol. Not because it does anything bad (except direct you to Bing)but I have people complaining about searching in Bing vs google.

Conversation goes like this

Did you find what you're looking for?

Yes

Then there is no problem.

or....

Did you find what you're looking for?

No

What were you looking for?

99% of the time its: I was looking for (Insert NSFW topic here)

That's not allowed so there is no problem.

Either way, I walk away.


RE: ahem...
By Samus on 7/1/2014 2:32:16 AM , Rating: 2
Wow that Asus tablet is stupid cheap. $350 for a 64GB baytrail WITH a keyboard? What's the catch? It's gotta be fragile and cheap as hell?


RE: ahem...
By anothermax2 on 7/2/2014 8:01:09 PM , Rating: 2
If the 9.7" 2048x1536 screen on the iPad wasn't big enough, I am not sure a 10.1" 1280x720 screen would be an improvement.


Cal me crazy...
By Motoman on 6/30/2014 11:49:11 AM , Rating: 2
...but I was under the impression that schools were supposed to provide and education, and prepare students to enter the workforce.

You know what kind of a device kids these days need no education for in order to effectively use it? Tablets.

You know what kind of device usage knowledge is not going to prepare you for entering the workforce? Tablets.

This display is nothing but yet another demonstration of people putting forward policies to either yield to fashion and/or to appear "progressive" while not actually understanding the issues at hand. There was no possible way, in any possible universe, for a school district to justify spending any time or money on tablets. Not only will tablet expertise not help the kids once they leave school, but they already know how to use them...and if they didn't, they could figure it out on their own in about 5 minutes.

Computer literacy, on the other hand, is clearly crucial to preparing kids to enter the workforce. The world runs on computers...actual computers. With keyboards and mice and productivity software like word processors and spreadsheets (at a minimum). The kids need to learn how to type. Properly. On a keyboard. They need to learn proper grammar so that what they type makes some kind of f%cking sense, and doesn't make themselves and their employers look like as$hats.

Whether it's convertibles, laptops, desktops, or any combination of the above that schools provide to the kids to learn on, *that's* what they need to be doing. They need to learn Windows skills (teaching kids on Macs is counter-productive...kids who learn to use Macs in school have to unlearn it, and then learn Windows once they attempt to enter the workforce, putting them at a disadvantage), they need to learn MS Office skills, and they need to be able to demonstrate basic competency at using web products and services.




RE: Cal me crazy...
By kattanna on 6/30/2014 12:42:12 PM , Rating: 2
one thing that also always seems to be left out in such tech roll outs is.. educating the teachers themselves on how to use said item.


RE: Cal me crazy...
By Motoman on 6/30/2014 1:00:23 PM , Rating: 3
Good point. If you need more than 5 minutes to figure out how to use a tablet though, regardless of whatever other circumstances are in play, maybe you should just stay at home with the curtains closed anyway.


RE: Cal me crazy...
By Freakie on 6/30/2014 4:16:33 PM , Rating: 2
Teachers are taught how to use their computers. Schools and school districts have mandatory training throughout the year to ensure teachers know how to use the technological tools that they have (and that the school/district pay for). And on top of that, many offer voluntary training as well for more general computer things.


RE: Cal me crazy...
By Alexvrb on 6/30/2014 8:19:55 PM , Rating: 2
Half of them are too old and trying to teach them how to effectively use new devices is incredibly different. Of course maybe that would be a good use-case for student aides. :)


RE: Cal me crazy...
By Apone on 6/30/2014 2:22:45 PM , Rating: 2
@ Motoman

Agreed. I freaking knew this was going to happen. I love the part where LAUSD said the time realization of the "one size fits all doesn't make sense" took so long because I'm 99% sure some high level LAUSD administrator thought it would be a neat idea to get trendy by mass adopting iPads without performing some due diligence.

quote:
There was no possible way, in any possible universe, for a school district to justify spending any time or money on tablets.


It's California; when it comes to spending, all logic goes out the window (I live in SoCal so I see it all the time).

It still puzzles me why customers and tablet makers try to stretch out a tablet's capabilities. I keep seeing accessories like bluetooth keyboards, vertical stand mounts, USB dongle adapters, etc. to a point where you might as well just pick up an ultrabook or laptop and get it over with. I can't imagine writing an 80-page dissertation/semester paper, business plan, coding a program, or any type of multi-tasking is something a tablet can do in the long run.



RE: Cal me crazy...
By Nutzo on 6/30/2014 5:00:39 PM , Rating: 2
And yet nobody is going to get fired, demoted, or even get a stern talking to over this huge waste of money on this iPad contract. I wonder how much more it's going to cost them to get out of the iPad contract.

And yes, the current generation of iPads/tablets are not much better than netbooks, except that iPads cost more. Netbooks where inexpensive computers with limited CPU power, that where meant for browsing the web and checking email.


RE: Cal me crazy...
By SPOOFE on 6/30/2014 7:51:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And yet nobody is going to get fired, demoted, or even get a stern talking to over this huge waste of money on this iPad contract.


Of course not, it's LAUSD. They have to jump through hoops to fire pedophiles. The only staff they fire quickly are effective teachers.


RE: Cal me crazy...
By mik123 on 6/30/2014 5:13:34 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you, but to be a devil's advocate:

if these kids will be entering the workforce in 10 years, how do you know what kind of devices will be popular?

For all we know, Google Glass might become the standard interface to our computers in 10 years.


RE: Cal me crazy...
By Motoman on 6/30/2014 7:50:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
if these kids will be entering the workforce in 10 years, how do you know what kind of devices will be popular?


I can guarantee you that in 10 years, desktop and laptop PCs will still be what essentially everyone uses at work. I will bet my life on it.

quote:
For all we know, Google Glass might become the standard interface to our computers in 10 years.


...if that is the case, I'll have killed myself already.


fad
By Argon18 on 6/30/14, Rating: 0
RE: fad
By hughlle on 6/30/2014 11:45:38 AM , Rating: 2
Yet i'm about to splash out over £1000 for an SP3 because other than it's use as a laptop, it is absolutely perfect for me as a tablet.

A tablet is the perfect form factor for me and my needs, and i've no issue spending good money on it. Not all tablets are cheap crap.

Comparing a tablet to a netbook is just daft. There is a huge application for tablet devices in the professional world, let lone in home life. My father does not care for computers very much, but even he saw how useful a 7" tablet could be around the house and picked up a nexus 7 2013.


RE: fad
By Reclaimer77 on 6/30/2014 11:58:26 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
There is a huge application for tablet devices in the professional world


That's not the issue.

Kid's don't need to "learn" how to use a tablet. There's nothing to learn! Even an idiot could figure a tablet out in about 3 minutes.

Kids need to learn how to use real Windows computers. Because chances are, that's what is going to be waiting for them in the workforce. Not a Mac, and not some tablet that has NO learning curve in the first place.


RE: fad
By inighthawki on 6/30/2014 12:05:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Kids need to learn how to use real Windows computers. Because chances are, that's what is going to be waiting for them in the workforce. Not a Mac, and not some tablet that has NO learning curve in the first place.

And yet just a few posts higher you were lobbying for them to use chromebooks :)


RE: fad
By Reclaimer77 on 6/30/2014 1:12:26 PM , Rating: 1
I wouldn't call that lobbying lol. Just a quip.

Personally I would rather they spend the money on ANYTHING but an Apple product. Just so my position is clear.


RE: fad
By atechfan on 7/1/2014 7:51:08 AM , Rating: 2
Elementary schools are one of the few places Chromebooks actually do make sense. The needs there don't go beyond some educational apps and light web browsing.


RE: fad
By hughlle on 6/30/2014 1:12:34 PM , Rating: 2
Your comment is completely irrelevant..

We are not talking about children at all in this little parlay, it is based solely on the idea that tablets are a fad, like netbooks, and will vanish before we know.


RE: fad
By Reclaimer77 on 6/30/2014 1:34:00 PM , Rating: 1
My comment was not directed to you or the OP. So no, it's not irrelevant.

And no I don't think tablets are "fads" either. Especially not when we have Windows PC's migrating to that form factor. We're just now starting to realize the potential of the tablet form.

Netbooks went away for entirely different reasons.

Also any idiot can say "product X is going away", that's easy, but not remotely insightful. How about some details. When will tablets vanish? What will replace them? And why?


Pen, paper, library.
By Rob94hawk on 6/30/2014 10:39:05 PM , Rating: 3
Pen, paper, library. Much cheaper. Won't turn children into blobs of useless mass. Ever see the movie WALL E?




"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad














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